Senator Patty Murray
What you need to know: Many Republicans believe that Murray, despite impressive past victories, is vulnerable this time.
Democrat - Incumbent
Endorsed for U.S. Senate by Council for a Livable World
The contest in Washington State for Senate was transformed in late may when former Republican candidate for Governor Dino Rossi announced his challenge to Senator Patty Murray. The Republican establishment worked hard to persuade Rossi, who is well-known in the state, to run. A dozen Republican incumbents are holding a fundraiser for Rossi despite the fact that he has two primary opponents, including former National Football League player Clint Didier.
Dino Rossi is a former state senator who lost the 2004 gubernatorial contest by just 129 votes out of 2.8 million cast — but who lost the 2008 rematch by a much larger margin. He quickly raised $600,000 shortly after he entered the Senate contest. He also has personal resources from his career in the commercial real estate industry. Even after declaring for Senate, he continued to speak at real-estate seminars teaching investors how to make a profit off buying and selling foreclosures.
Many Republicans believe that Murray, despite impressive past victories, is vulnerable this time. Rossi will argue that Murray, who serves on both the Appropriations and Budget committees, is part of the problem in Washington, D.C. that has created record deficits. The GOP will pouring resources and personnel into the state in an attempt to beat Washington's senior Senator, the state's first woman Senator elected in 1992, and the contest could be close.
Senator Murray's political career began when, as a parent lobbying for funds for local schools, she was ridiculed by a state legislator who told her gruffly, "You're just a mom in tennis shoes, you can't make a difference."
The contest is likely to be close. An Elway poll conducted June 9 – 13 gave Murray a modest lead, 47% to 40%.
Senator Murray's political career began when, as a parent lobbying for funds for local schools, she was ridiculed by a state legislator who told her gruffly, "You're just a mom in tennis shoes, you can't make a difference." That has been her signature description ever since.
A native of Seattle, Patty Murray is a graduate of Washington State University. Her career has been built on fighting conventional wisdom and winning. Her political activism began in 1979 when Murray participated in a community college program that combined a pre school and parent education center. When the state legislature cut the funding, she organized 12,000 parents across the state to support the program, and won. After serving on the school board, Murray won an upset victory over a 15 year incumbent Republican state senator. In the legislature, she was recognized as a prime leader, particularly on environmental and education reform issues.
In 1992, amid a crowd of better known male politicians, Murray won the Democratic nomination for the open Senate seat and then defeated a tough Republican in November 54% 46%. She has been easily reelected twice since then.
Patty Murray has made a difference, particularly on arms control, nuclear disarmament and foreign policy. In 2002, Murray was one of 23 Senators to vote against the President's request for authority to take military action in Iraq. "We're being asked to endorse a policy that hasn't been thought out and one that could have dramatic consequences for our citizens and our future . . . I cannot support sending our men and women into harm's way on a ill defined, solo mission with so many critical questions unanswered."
In key Senate votes, she supported amendments to bring U.S. troops out of Iraq, opposed funding for a new generation of nuclear weapons and voted against amendments to increase national missile defense funding.
This contest could be close, pitting a very well-known conservative Republican against a progressive Democratic woman.
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